CHAPTER ONE

I remember swinging my legs against my bed, and letting my heels hit the bed frame. Aunty Charm was there, my mom and dad, and me. We had just come back from the cremation of my dog. It was a sad day for all of us.

Now, I kissed the picture with Paws, my bison fraise that died last year, on April ninth, 2012, of old age. She was fifteen. I patted the box full of her ashes and smiled sadly. It hurt, but it was kind of bittersweet. Her only problem was hip dysplasia, which made it kind of difficult for her to walk up and down the stairs. My dad wanted to put her down, but I told him no. She never really suffered badly I think. I hope every day that I wasn't selfish to keep her alive. I thought about all the fun times we had together when she was alive. Us running through the park, her chasing a cat and me chasing her. Me trying to make her fetch, even though she never would do it. Me giving her pieces of corn and chicken as a snack. My family and I celebrating her birthdays with cake and steak and sausage and burgers. And surprisingly, she never gained wait because we kept her active. I smiled at all the happy thoughts. Paws had lived a good life.

"Stella! Aunty Charm is here!" my mother yelled. Aunty Charm helped me get through the passing of Paws. She told me about the time she had to put her dog, Glitter, down because of cancer. I knew that if she could survive something like that, so could I. At least Paws hadn't died so miserably. Aunty Charm was funny, cool, awesome, and had a huge appetite. She was one of the highlights of my life. I ran downstairs and tripped over one of Paws old toys. What the heck. What was this doing her? Oh. My. Gosh. "Stephanie! Why are you messing with Paws toys!? I told you to keep away from her stuff!" I screamed. "Sorry Stella. Gee, it's not that big of a deal," Stephanie said as she came into the living room. "Mom! Stephanie is messing with Paws toys!" I yelled again.

"Stephanie, what have I told you," my mom said as she led Aunty Charm into the living room, all the while balancing a box of cupcakes. Aunty Charm brought cupcakes! I put Paws toys carefully back where they belonged and ran next to Aunty Charm.

"How you doing my little Tiger Lilly?" Aunty Charm asked me. "Pretty good, I guess," I replied. She called my Tiger Lilly because I looked just like Tiger Lilly from Peter Pan. I had straight black hair, orangish brownish skin, and my dad was Native American too. The only difference was that I had gray eyes, and that is because my mother is British. I opened the lid of the cupcake box and took a vanilla cupcake. "Yum," I said, as I licked the frosting off my lips. Twenty seconds later, I was off to the bathroom to wash my hands. I was just about to dry them when I heard my mother say, "Stephanie, put back Paw's toys. You know Charm, Stella has just been so touchy now days about anyone touching Paws toys. It's probably because his birthday is next month. She gets really touchy about that sort of thing." I dried my hands and listened to what Aunty Charm was about to say. "Well, you know, she really loved Paws. By the way, you know my job at the SPCA? They are looking for volunteers, thirteen years and up. Do you think Stella would like to join?" Charm asked my mother. I chose this as the right moment to walk in.

"What are you guys talking about?" I ask, trying to look as innocent as possible. I walk to the chair next to Aunty Charm, and lean onto the arm rest. "Oh, we were just talking about how we need volunteers at the SPCA. You know, people who can pick up the poop, socialize with the animals, feed them, give them clean water, comb them, wash them, and stuff like that. You interested?" Aunty Charm asked me. I glanced at my mom, looked back at Aunty Charm, and said, "Oh yeah, I'm interested. So, when do we start?"